5 Signs You're Raising an Angry Child

Angry Child
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Some kids have a really short fuse. Within a matter of seconds, a seemingly minor event can turn into a complete meltdown or an aggressive outburst. Dealing with such hostile and unpredictable behavior can be stressful for the entire family.

There are many factors that can cause a child to be so angry. Unresolved feelings, such as grief related to a divorce or loss of a loved one can be the root of the issue.

A trauma history can also lead to deep-seeded anger.

Mental health issues may also be linked to angry outbursts. Children with depression, anxiety, Oppositional Defiant Disorder,  or Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder struggle to regulate their emotions than others.

There isn’t always a clear environmental issue or mental health issue behind an angry child’s behavior. Certain kids just have a lower tolerance for frustration than others.

While it’s age-appropriate for toddlers to throw temper tantrums and preschoolers to lash out aggressively at times, it’s important to keep an eye out for behavior that goes above and beyond normal childhood behavior. Here are some warning signs that may indicate you should consider seeking professional help:

1. Your child’s angry outbursts interfere with relationships.

Hitting a sibling occasionally or calling someone a name once is a while is normal in young children.

However, if your child’s angry outbursts prevent him from maintaining friendships or interfere with his ability to develop healthy relationships with family members, it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible. Otherwise, he may have ongoing difficulties with long-term relationships.

2. Your family life is disrupted by your child’s behavior.

You shouldn’t have to feel like you’re walking on eggshells in your own home.

If your daily activities are disrupted because of your child’s anger, it’s not healthy for anyone in the family. If you find yourself skipping outings or doing certain things simply to avoid a meltdown, it’s important to address the issue. Otherwise, the problem may grow worse and family members may become resentful of all the things they can’t do because of one child’s behavior.

3. Your child tries to get his needs met through verbal and physical aggression.

Aggression should be a last resort for kids, but for kids with anger problems, lashing out often becomes a first line of defense. If your child struggles to solve problems, resolve conflict, or ask for help, he may resort to aggression to get his needs met. Sometimes, teaching new skills can help a child learn that aggressive behavior isn’t necessary.  

4. Meltdowns and temper tantrums aren’t age appropriate.

While it’s normal for a 2-year-old throw himself down to the floor and kick his feet when he’s mad, that’s not normal for an 8-year-old.

Meltdowns should decrease in frequency and intensity as your child matures. If your child’s temper tantrums seem to be getting worse, it’s a warning sign that he’s having difficulty regulating his emotions and expressing his feelings in an age-appropriate manner.

5. Your child has a low tolerance for frustration.

As kids mature, they should develop an increased ability to tolerate frustrating activities. If your 7-year-throws his building toys when his creations topple over, or your 9-year-old crumples up his papers every time he makes a mistake on his homework, he may need help building frustration tolerance.

Seek Professional Help

If you’re struggling to teach your child anger management techniques, seek professional help. Start by talking to your child’s pediatrician about your concerns. Sometimes, a referral to a mental health professional can help. Treatment may involve addressing underlying issues, teaching new skills, or helping you find strategies to coach your child.

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